Adams, Douglas

The Universe, as has been observed before, is an unsettlingly big place, a fact which for the sake of a quiet life most people tend to ignore.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe Chapter 10 (p. 71)

Amaldi, Ginestra Giovene

Our imagination has roamed far and wide through distant reaches of the Universe. Understandably, we may have become dazed by the immense dimensions of space and the enormous sizes of some of its occupants.

Our World and the Universe Around Us

Volume I

First Steps into Space (p. 124)

Bacon, Francis

The Universe is not to be narrowed down to the limits of the Understanding, which has been men's practice up to now, but the Understanding must be stretched and enlarged to take in the image of the Universe as it is discovered.

Parasceve Aphorism 4

For the fabric of this universe is like a labyrinth to the contemplative mind, where doubtful paths, deceitful imitations of things and their signs, winding and intricate folds and knots of nature everywhere present themselves, and a way must constantly be made through the forests of experience and particular natures, with the aid of the uncertain light of the senses, shining and disappearing by fits.

In Basil Montague The Works Volume 3 The Great Instauration Preface (p. 336)

Barth, John

All the scientists hope to do is describe the universe mathematically, predict it, and maybe control it. The philosopher, by contrast, seems unbecomingly ambitious: He wants to understand the universe; to get behind phenomena and operation and solve the logically prior riddles of being, knowledge, and value. But the artist, and in particular the novelist, in his essence wishes neither to explain nor to control nor to understand the universe. He wants to make one of his own, and may even aspire to make it more orderly, meaningful, beautiful, and interesting than the one God turned out. What's more, in the opinion of many readers of literature, he sometimes succeeds.

The Friday Book: Essays and Other Nonfiction How to Make a Universe (p. 17)

Blount, Sir Thomas Pope

Whoever surveys the curious fabric of the universe, can never imagine that so noble a structure should be framed for no other use, than barely for mankind to live and breathe in. It was certainly the design of the great Architect that his creatures should afford not only necessaries and accommodations to our animal part, but also instructions to our intellectual.

A Natural History Preface

Bruno, Giordano

The universe is then one, infinite, immobile...It is not capable of comprehension and therefore is endless and limitless, and to that extent infinite and indeterminable, and consequently immobile.

Cause, Principle, and Unity Fifth Dialogue (p. 135)

We can securely declare that the universe is all centre, or that the universe's centre is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere insofar as it differs from the centre. . .

Cause, Principle, and Unity Fifth Dialogue (p. 137)

Camus, Albert

...I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.

The Outsider Part II Chapter V (p. 127)

Clark, Roger N.

To stand beneath a dark, crystal-clear, moonless country sky is an awe-inspiring experience. Those thousands of stars, many larger than our own Sun, can make us feel small indeed. It seems possible to see to infinity, though we cannot reach beyond arm's length. The beauty of the universe defies description.

Visual Astronomy of the Deep Sky Preface (p. xi)

Yet the heavens are subtle. Imagine that the fuzzy patch at the threshold of visibility is really a trillion suns—a galaxy larger than our own, in which our Sun is but a tiny speck. Incomprehensible; yet somehow we try. Seeing that galaxy first-hand, even through a small telescope, is much more inspiring than the large, beautiful photograph in the astronomy book back indoors. Nothing can compare to viewing the universe directly.

Visual Astronomy of the Deep Sky Preface (p. xi)

Clarke, Arthur C.

Many and strange are the universes that drift like bubbles in the foam of the river of time.

The Collected Stories ofArthur C. Clarke The Wall of Darkness (p. 104)

...the universe has no purpose and no plan...

The Collected Stories ofArthur C. Clarke The Star (p. 521)

There is no reason to assume that the universe has the slightest interest in intelligence—or even in life. Both may be random accidental by-products of its operations like the beautiful patterns on a butterfly's wings. The insect would fly just as well without them...

The Lost Worlds of2001 Chapter 16 (p. 109)

Cook, Peter

I am very interested in the Universe—I am specializing in the Universe and all that surrounds it.

Beyond the Fringe Disc 2

Sitting on the Bench

Copernicus, Nicolaus

But they say that beyond the heavens there isn't any body or place or void or anything at all; and accordingly it is not possible for the heavens to move outward: in that case it is rather surprising that something can be held together by nothing. But if the heavens were infinite and were finite only with respect to a hollow space inside, then it will be said with more truth that there is nothing of heaven, since anything which occupied any space would be in them, but the heavens will remain immobile. For movement is the most powerful reason wherewith they try to conclude that the universe is finite.

On Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres Book 1, Chapter 8 (p. 519)

Darling, David

In giving birth to us, the universe has performed its most astonishing creative act. Out of a hot, dense melee of subatomic particles...it has fashioned intelligence and consciousness...Somehow the anarchy of genesis has given way to exquisite, intricate order, so that now there are portions of the universe that can reflect upon themselves...

Equations ofEternity Introduction (p. xiii)

Davy, Humphry

The more the phenomena of the universe are studied, the more distinct their connection appears, the more simple their causes, the more magnificent their design, and the more wonderful the wisdom and power of their author.

Elements of Chemical Philosophy (p. 60)

Dawkins, Richard

The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

River Out of Eden Chapter 4 (p. 133)

Day, Clarence

Is it possible that our race may be an accident, in a meaningless universe, living its brief life uncared for, on this dark, cooling star: but so—and all the more—what marvelous creatures we are! What fairy story, what tale from the Arabian Nights of the Jinns, is a hundredth part as wonderful as this story of simians! It is so much more heartening too, than the tales we invent. A universe capable of giving birth to so many accidents is—blind or not—a good world to live in, a promising universe.

This Simian World XIX (p. 91)

de Fontenelle, Bernard Le Bovier

...when the heavens appeared to me as a little blue vault, stuck with stars, methought the universe was too straight and close, I was almost stifled for want of air; but now, it is enlarged in height and breadth, and a thousand and a thousand vortexes taken in, I begin to breathe with more freedom, and think the universe to be incomparably more magnificent than it was before.

Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds The Fifth Evening (pp. 151-2)

Our conception of the structure of the Universe bears all the marks of a transitory structure. Our theories are decidedly in a state of continuous and just now very rapid evolution.

In J.H.F. Umbgrove The Pulse of the Earth Chapter I (p. 1)

de Vries, Peter

Anyone informed that the universe is expanding and contracting in pulsations of eighty billion years has a right to ask, "What's in it for me?"

The Glory of the Hummingbird Chapter 1 (p. 6)

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination but the combination is locked up in the safe.

Let Me Count The Ways Chapter 22 (p. 307)

Deutsch, Karl W.

Any universe uneven enough to sustain the life of a flatworm should perhaps be uneven enough to be eventually known by man.

Philosophy of Science Mechanism, Organism, and Society: Some Models in Natural and Social Science (p. 231) Volume 18, Number 3, July 1951

Dyson, Freeman J.

I have found a universe growing without limit in richness and complexity, a universe of life surviving forever and making itself known to its neighbors across unimaginable gulfs of space and time. Whether the details of my calculations turn out to be correct or not, there are good scientific reasons for taking seriously the possibility that life and intelligence can succeed in molding this universe of ours to their own purposes.

Infinite in All Directions Part I

The hypothesis is that the universe is constructed according to a principle of maximum diversity. The principle of maximum diversity operates both at the physical and at the mental level. It says that the laws of nature and the initial conditions are such as to make the universe as interesting as possible. As a result, life is possible but not too easy. Always when things are dull, something new turns up to challenge us and to stop us from settling into a rut. Examples of things which make life difficult are all around us: comet impacts, ice ages, weapons, plagues, nuclear fission, computers, sex, sin and death. Not all challenges can be overcome, and so we have tragedy. Maximum diversity often leads to maximum stress. In the end we survive, but only by the skin of our teeth.

Infinite in All Directions Part II

Eddington, Sir Arthur Stanley

I would feel more content that the universe should accomplish some great scheme of evolution and, having achieved whatever may be achieved, lapse back into chaotic changelessness, than its purpose should be banalised by continual repetition. I am an Evolutionist, not a Multiplicationist. It seems rather stupid to keep doing the same thing over and over again.

The Nature of the Physical World Chapter IV (p. 86)

Ehrmann, Max

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.


Emerson, Ralph Waldo

We are taught by great actions that the universe is the property of every individual in it.

Essays and Lectures Nature, Addresses, and Lectures Beauty (p. 16)

Engard, Charles J.

We accept the universe as far as we know it, but we do not attempt to explain why it exists. It is difficult enough to understand how!

In Bertha Mueller Goethe's Botanical Writings Introduction (p. 14)

Estling, Ralph

I do not know what, if anything, the Universe has in its mind, but I am quite, quite sure that, whatever it has in its mind, it is not at all like what we have in ours. And, considering what most of us have in ours, it is just as well.

The Skeptical Inquirer Spring Issue 1993

There is no question about there being design in the Universe. The question is whether this design is imposed from the Outside or whether it is inherent in the physical laws governing the Universe. The next question is, of course, who or what made these physical laws.

The Skeptical Inquirer Spring 1993

Farmer, Phillip Jose

The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.

Venus on the Half-Shell

Flammarion, Camille

May we conclude, then, that in these successive endings the universe will one day become an immense and dark tomb. No: otherwise it would already have become so during a past eternity. There is in nature something else besides blind matter; an intellectual law of progress governs the whole creation; the forces which rule the universe cannot remain inactive. The stars will rise from their ashes. The collision of ancient wrecks causes new flames to burst forth, and the transformation of motion into heat creates nebulae and worlds. Universal death shall never reign.

Popular Astronomy Book I, Chapter VII (p. 80)

When the last human eyelid closes here below, and our globe—after having been for so long the abode of life with its passions, its labour, its pleasures and its pains, its loves and its hatred, its religious and political expectations and all its vain finalities—is enshrouded in the windingsheet of a profound night, when the extinct sun wakes no more; well, then—then, as to-day, the universe will be as complete, the stars will continue to shine in the sky, other suns will illuminate other worlds, other springs will bring round the bloom of flowers and the illusions of youth, other mornings and other evenings will follow in succession, and the universe will move on as at present; for creation is developed in infinity and eternity.

Popular Astronomy Book II, Chapter VI (p. 164)

France, Anatole

The universe which science reveals to us is a dispiriting monotony. All the suns are drops of fire and all the planets drops of mud.

In Stanley L. Jaki Chance or Reality and Other Essays Chapter 4 (p. 46)

If desire lends a grace to whatsoever be the object of it, then the desire of the unknown makes beautiful the Universe.

My Friend's Book Later Exploits The Grove of Myrtle (p. 167)

Frayn, Michael

The complexity of the universe is beyond expression in any possible notation.

Lift up your eyes. Not even what you see before you can ever be fully expressed.

Close your eyes. Not even what you see now.

Constructions Number 1

Galilei, Galileo

Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze. But the book cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and read the letters in which it is composed. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it.

Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo (pp. 237-8) [Dialogues Concerning Two Chief World Systems]

Giraudoux, Jean

COUNTESS: I know perfectly well that at this moment the whole universe is listening to us—and that every word we say echoes to the remotest star.

The Madwoman of Chaillot Act II (p. 94)

Guth, Alan Steinhardt, Paul

The inflationary model of the universe provides a possible mechanism by which the observed universe could have evolved from an infinitesimal region. It is then tempting to go one step further and speculate that the entire universe evolved from literally nothing.

Scientific American The Inflationary Universe (p. 128) Volume 250, Number 5, May 1984

Our universe operates not at the whims of those who live in it, but by inexorable natural laws.

They Gave Their Names to Science Prologue (p. 9)

Harrison, Edward

We do not know what sets limits to the Great Chain of hierarchical structures, nor do we know what unifies it. We are clueless as to why atoms exist and why the Universe is structured the way it is. Of course, if the Universe were structured in any other way, we would not be here asking these pertinent questions; or so we are told. But I am a heretic and inclined to think the other way: without us this Universe would not be here.

Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society A Twinkle in the Eye of the Universe (p. 428) Volume 25, Number 4, December 1984

The universes are our models of the Universe. They are great schemes of intricate thought—grand cosmic pictures—that rationalize human experience; these universes harmonize and invest with meaning the rising and setting Sun, the waxing and waning Moon, the jeweled lights of the night sky, the landscape of rocks and trees and clouds.

Masks of the Universe Chapter 1 (p. 1)

We cannot doubt the existence of an ultimate reality. It is the Universe forever masked. We are part of an aspect of it, and the masks figured by us are the Universe observing and understanding itself from a human point of view. When we doubt the Universe we doubt ourselves. The Universe thinks, therefore it is.

Masks of the Universe Chapter I (p. 14)

From the outset we must decide whether to use Universe or universe. This in not so trivial a matter as it might seem. We know of only one planet called Earth; similarly, we know of only one Universe. Surely then the proper word is Universe?

Cosmology: The Science of the Universe Chapter 1 (p. 10)

Haught, James A.

The universe is a vast, amazing, seething dynamo which has no discernable purpose except to keep on churning. From quarks to quasars, it's alive with incredible power. But it seems utterly indifferent to any moral laws. It destroys as blindly as it nurtures.

2000 Years of Disbelief Afterthought (p. 324)

Hinshelwood, C.N.

To some men knowledge of the universe has been an end possessing in itself a value that is absolute: to others it has seemed a means of useful application.

The Structure ofPhysical Chemistry Chapter I (p. 2)

Hogan, John

...cosmologists—and the rest of us—may have to forego attempts at understanding the universe and simply marvel at its infinite complexity and strangeness.

Scientific American Universal Truths (p. 117) Volume 263, Number 4, October 1990

Hoyle, Fred

...if there is one important result that comes out of our inquiry into the nature of the Universe it is this: when by patient inquiry we learn the answer to any problem, we always find, both as a whole and in detail, that the answer thus revealed is finer in concept and design than anything we could ever have arrived at by a random guess.

The Nature of the Universe Chapter 7 (p. 140)

Perhaps the most majestic feature of our whole existence is that while our intelligences are powerful enough to penetrate deeply into the evaluation of this quite incredible Universe, we still have not the smallest clue to our own fate.

The Nature of the Universe Chapter 7 (p. 142)

There is a coherent plan in the universe, though I don't know what it's a plan for.

Hubble, Edwin Powell

Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science.

The Nature of Science and Other Lectures


The Nature of Science (p. 6)

Huygens, Christianus

What a wonderful and amazing Scheme have we here of the magnificent Vastness of the Universe! So many Suns, so many Earths...! New Conjectures Concerning the Planetary Worlds, Their Inhabitants and Productions

Kosmotheoros (p. 222)

Ionesco, Eugene

...the universe seems to me infinitely strange and foreign. At such a moment I gaze upon it with a mixture of anguish and euphoria; separate from the universe, as though placed at a certain distance outside it; I look and I see pictures, creatures that move in a kind of timeless time and spaceless space, emitting sounds that are a kind of language I no longer understand or ever register.

Notes and Counter Notes: Writing on the Theatre

Part II Interviews Brief Notes for Radio (p. 136)

James, William

Whatever universe a professor believes in must at any rate be a universe that lends itself to lengthy discourse. A universe definable in two sentences is something for which the professorial intellect has no use. No faith in anything of that cheap kind!

Writings, 1902-1910 Pragmatism Lecture 1

The Present Dilemma in Philosophy (p. 487)

When the scientist leaves his laboratory and speculates about the universe as a whole, the resultant conclusions are apt to tell us more about the scientist than about the universe.

Philosophical Aspects of Modern Science Chapter XI (p. 339)

Kant, Immanual

...God has deposited in the forces of Nature a certain secret art so that it may develop by itself from the chaos into a perfect world system. . .

Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens Opening Discourse (p. 87)

The world-edifice puts one into a quiet astonishment by its immeasurable greatness and by the infinite manifoldness and beauty which shine forth from it on all sides.

Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens Seventh Section (p. 148)

Keillor, Garrison

We wondered if there is a God or is the universe only one seed in one apple on a tree in another world where a million years of ours is only one of their moments and what we imagine as our civilization is only a tiny charge of static electricity and the great truth that our science is slowly grasping is the fact the apple in which we are part of one seed is falling, has been falling for a million years and in one one-millionth of a second it will hit hard-frozen ground in that other world and split open and lie on the ground and a bear will come along and gobble it up, everything, the Judeo-Christian heritage, science, democracy, the Renaissance, art, music, sex, sweet corn—all disappear into that black hole of a bear.

The Atlantic Monthly Leaving Home (p. 48) Volume 260, Number 3, September 1987

Kepler, Johannes

The diversity of the phenomena of Nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.

Mysterium Cosmographicum Original Dedication (p. 55)

Kirshner, Robert P.

Although the Universe is under no obligation to make sense, students in pursuit of the Ph.D. are.

Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society Exploding Stars and the Expanding Universe (p. 240) Volume 32, Number 3, September 1991

Koestler, Arthur

In my youth I regarded the universe as an open book, printed in the language of physical equations, whereas now it appears to me as a text written in invisible ink, of which in our rare moments of grace we are able to decipher a small fragment.

Bricks to Babel Epilogue (pp. 682-3)

There are no longer any absolute directions in space. The universe has lost its core. It no longer has a heart, but a thousand hearts.

The Sleepwalkers

Mach, Ernst

The universe is like a machine in which the motion of certain parts is determined by that of others, only nothing is determined about the motion of the whole machine.

History and Root of the Principle of the Conservation of Energy

Melville, Herman

It's too late to make any improvements now. The universe is finished; the copestone is set on, and the chips were carted off a million years ago.

Moby Dick Chapter 2

Muir, John

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.

My First Summer in the Sierra July 27 (p. 211)

How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof! In such places standing alone on the mountaintop it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make of leaves and moss like marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone we all dwell in a house of one room the world with the firmament for its roof and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track.

The Wilderness World ofJohn Muir The Philosophy of John Muir (p. 312)

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

The Wilderness World of John Muir The Philosophy of John Muir (p. 312)

Pythagoras, if he could but be with us, would (I hope) smile indulgently upon our endeavors. But I think that he would be inclined to say that he knew that the Universe would turn out to be harmonious, for harmony was for him an axiom, a definition of the way in which he chose to organize his experience of the world.


Bode's Law—Truth or Consequences?

Volume 239, 1972

Pascal, Blaise

By space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom; by thought I comprehend the world.

Pensées Number 348


...had we never seen the stars, and the sun, and the heaven, none of the words which we have spoken about the universe would ever have been uttered.

Timaeus Section 47

Poe, Edgar Alan

I design to speak of the Physical, Metaphysical and Mathematical—of the Material and Spiritual Universe:—of its Essence, its Origin, its Creation, its Present Condition and its Destiny.

...the perceptible universe exists as a cluster of clusters, irregularly disposed.

Telescopic observations, guided by the laws of perspective, enables us to understand that the perceptible Universe exists as a roughly spherical cluster of clusters irregularly disposed.

Polanyi, Michael

The universe is still dead, but it already has the capacity of coming to life.

Personal Knowledge (p. 404) In Freeman J. Dyson Infinite in All Directions Parti

Ramon y Cajal, Santiago

As long as the brain is a mystery, the universe will also be a mystery.

In Victor Cohn The Washington Post Charting 'the Soul's Frail Dwelling-House' September 5,1982 Final Edition (p. A1)

Reade, Winwood

The universe is anonymous; it is published under secondary laws; these at least we are able to investigate, and in these perhaps we may find a partial solution of the great problem.

The Martyrdom of Man Chapter IV (p. 521)

Reichenbach, Hans

Instead of asking for a cause of the universe, the scientist can ask only for the cause of the present state of the universe; and his task will consist in pushing farther and farther back the date from which he is able to account for the universe in terms of laws of nature.

The Rise of Scientific Philosophy Chapter 12 (p. 208)

Renard, Maurice

Man, peering at the Universe through only a few tiny windows—his senses—catches mere glimpses of the world around him. He would do well to brace himself against unexpected surprises from the vast unknown; from that immeasurable sector of reality that has remained a closed book.

In Charles Noël Martin The Role ofPerception in Science (p. 8)

Richards, Rheodore William

No one can predict how far we shall be enabled by means of our limited intelligence to penetrate into the mysteries of a universe immeasurably vast and wonderful; nevertheless, each step in advance is certain to bring new blessing to humanity and new inspiration to greater endeavor.

In Faraday Lectures Lectures Delivered Before the Chemical Society The Fundamental Properties of the Elements (p. 236)

Rothman, Tony

When confronted with the order and beauty of the universe and the strange coincidences of nature, it's very tempting to take the leap of faith from science into religion. I am sure many physicists want to. I only wish they would admit it.

In J.L. Casti Paradigms Lost (pp. 482-3)

Russell, Bertrand

The Universe may have a purpose, but nothing that we know suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours.

Why I am Not a Christian Do We Survive Death? (p. 92)

So far as scientific evidence goes, the universe has crawled by slow stages to a somewhat pitiful result on this earth, and is going to crawl by still more pitiful stages to a condition of universal death.

Why I am Not a Christian Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization (p. 32)

Santayana, George

The universe, as far as we can observe it, is a wonderful and immense engine; its extent, its order, its beauty, its cruelty, make it alike impressive. If we dramatize its life and conceive its spirit, we are filled with wonder, terror, and amusement, so magnificent is that spirit, so prolific, inexorable, grammatical and dull.

In Logan Pearsall Smith Little Essays Piety (p. 85)

Shelley, Percy Bysshe

Its easier to suppose that the universe has existed from all eternity than to conceive a

Being beyond its limits capable of creating it.

The Complete Poetical Works of Shelley Queen Mab

Siegel, Eli

The universe is Why, How, and What, in any order, and all at once.

Damned Welcome Aesthetic Realism Maxims Part 1, No. 69 (p. 28)

The weight of the universe is at one with all its space.

Damned Welcome Aesthetic Realism Maxims Part 1, No. 70 (p. 28)

The universe, being clever, has given scientists trouble. Damned Welcome

Aesthetic Realism Maxims Part 1, No. 71 (p. 28)

Spenser, Edmund

Why then should witless man so much misween, That nothing is, but that which he hath seene? What if in the Moones faire shining speheare? What if in every other starre unseene, Of other worldes he happily should heare? That nothing is, but that which he hath seene?

The Complete Works in Verse and Prose of Edmund Spenser

Volume 8 Faerie Queene Book the Second Introduction

Stern, S. Alan

The place we call our Universe is, for the most part, cold and dark and all but endless. It is the emptiest of empties. It is old, and yet very young. It contains much that is dead, and yet much that is alive, forever reinventing itself, and sometimes inventing something wholly new.

Our Universe

The Frontier Universe: At the Edge of the Night (p. 1)

There is one great work of art; it is the universe. Ye men of letters find the imprints of its majesty in your sense of the beauty of words. Ye men of song find it in the harmony of sweet sounds. Ye painters feel it in the design of beauteous forms, and in the blending of rich soft colors do your souls mount on high to bask in the brilliance of nature's sunshine. Ye lovers are conscious of its beauties in forms ye can but ill define. Ye men of science find it in the rich harmonies of nature's mathematical design.

The Architecture of the Universe Chapter 12 (p. 424)

Swenson, May

What is it about the universe, the universe about us stretching out? We, within our brains, within I, think we must unspin it.

In John Osborne and David Paskow Looking Back on Tomorrow The Universe

Tennyson, Lord Alfred

This truth within thy mind rehearse, That in a boundless universe Is boundless better, boundless worse.

The Complete Poetical Works of Tennyson The Two Voices

Thom, Rene

Next we must concede that the universe we see is a ceaseless creation, evolution, and destruction of forms and that the purpose of science is to foresee this change of form and, if possible, explain it.

Structural Stability and Morphogenesis Chapter 1 (p. 1)

Thompson, Francis

The universe is his box of toys. He dabbles his fingers in the day-fall. He is gold-dusty with tumbling amidst the stars. He makes bright mischief with the moon. The meteors nuzzle their noses in his hand.

Thoreau, Henry David

The universe is wider than our views of it.


Chapter XVIII (p. 317)

Toynbee, Arnold

Huddled together in our little earth we gaze with frightened eyes into the dark universe.

Lectures on the Industrial Revolution of the 18th Century in England

Notes and Jottings (p. 256)

If it is true that our Universe has a zero net value for all conserved quantities, then it may simply be a fluctuation of the vacuum of some larger space in which our Universe is imbedded. In answer to the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time.


Is the Universe a Vacuum Fluctuation? (p. 397) Volume 246, Number 5433, December 14,1973

Tzu, Lao

In the universe the difficult things are done as if they are easy.

In Gia-Fu Geng and Jane English Tao Te Ching Sixty-Three


To be rational is to look the universe in the face and not flinch.

Unknown source

Weinberg, Steven

The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.

The First Three Minutes Epilogue (p. 154)

...the urge to trace the history of the universe back to its beginning is irresistible.

The First Three Minutes Chapter I (p. 4)

Wheeler, John A.

The Universe is a self-excited circuit.

Frontiers of Time (p. 13) In Freeman J. Dyson Infinite in All Directions Chapter 3 (p. 53)

...this is our Universe, our museum of wonder and beauty, our cathedral.

A Journey into Gravity and Spacetime Opening

We will first understand how simple the universe is when we recognize how strange it is.

Cosmic Search Magazine From the Big Bang to the Big Crunch Volume 1, Number 4, Fall 1979

Whitman, Walt

Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.

In James E. Miller, Jr (ed.) Complete Poetry and Selected Prose Song of Myself

Wiechert, Emil

The universe is infinite in all directions.

Schriften der Physikalisch-Ökonomischen Gesellschaft zu Königsberg in Preussen Die Theorie der Elektrodynamik und die Rontgensche Entdeckung

Volume 37, 1896 In Freeman J. Dyson Infinite in All Directions Parti

Young, Louise B.

The universe is unfinished, not just in the limited sense of an incompletely realized plan but in the much deeper sense of a creation that is a living reality of the present. A masterpiece of artistic unity and integrated Form, infused with meaning, is taking shape as time goes by. But its ultimate nature cannot be visualized, its total significance grasped, until the final lines are written.

The Unfinished Universe Conclusion (p. 207-8)


Barrow, John D.

One day we may be able to say something about the origins of our own cosmic neighborhood. But we can never know the origins of the universe. The deepest secrets are the ones that keep themselves.

The Origin of the Universe Chapter 8 (p. 137)

Bowyer, Stuart

Ultimately, the origin of the universe is, and always will be, a mystery.

In Henry Margenau and Roy Abraham Varghese (eds)

Cosmos, Bios, Theos Chapter 2 (p. 32)

Gamow, George

Before we can discuss the basic problem of the origin of our universe, we must ask ourselves whether such a discussion is necessary.

The Creation of the Universe Chapter I (p. 6)

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

The Bible

Kipling, Rudyard

Before the High and Far-Off Times, O my Best Beloved, came the Time of the Very Beginnings; and that was in the days when the Eldest Magician was getting Things ready. First he got the Earth ready; then he got the Sun ready; and then he told all the Animals that they could come out and play.

Just So Stories

The Crab that Played with the Sun (p. 123)

Reeves, Hubert

In the beginning was the absolute rule of the flame: The universe was in limbo. Then after countless eras, the fires slowly abated like the sea at the outgoing tide. Matter awoke and organized itself; the flame gave way to music.

Atoms of Silence Introduction (p. 5)

Singer, Isaac Bashevis

"Who created the world?"

"There was matter somewhere in the cosmos and for a long time it lay there and stank. That stench was the origin of life." "Where did the matter come from?"

"What is the difference? The main thing is that we have no responsibility—neither to ourselves nor to others. The secret of the universe is apathy. The earth, the sun, the rocks, they're all indifferent, and this is a kind of passive force. Perhaps indifference and gravitation are the same."

He spoke and yawned. He ate and smoked. "Why do you smoke so much?" I asked. "It keeps me indifferent."

A Crown ofFeathers The Captive (p. 47)

Spenser, Edmund

Through knowledge we behold the world's creation,

How in his cradle first he fostered was; And judge of Natures cunning operation, How things she formed of a formless mass...

The Complete Poetical Works of Edmund Spenser The Tears of the Muses L.499-502

Sturluson, Snorri

Erst was the age when nothing was: Nor sand nor sea, nor chilling stream-waves; Earth was not found, nor Ether-Heaven,— A Yawning Gap, but grass was none.

The Prose Edda Here Begins the Beguiling of Gylfi (p. 16)

Tagore, Rabindranath

It seems to me that, perhaps, creation is not fettered by rules, That all the hubbub, meeting and mingling are blind happenings of fate. . .

Our Universe Chapter 4 (p. 75)

Townes, Charles H.

I do not understand how the scientific approach alone, as separated from a religious approach, can explain an origin of all things. It is true that physicists hope to look behind the 'big bang,' and possibly to explain the origin of our universe as, for example, a type of fluctuation. But then, of what is it a fluctuation and how did this in turn begin to exist? In my view the question of origin seems always left unanswered if we explore from a scientific view alone.

In Henry Margenau and Roy Abraham Varghese (eds)

Cosmos, Bios, Theos Chapter 25 (p. 123)


In the beginning there was nothing. ..which exploded.

Source unknown


...the energies of our system will decay, the glory of the sun will be dimmed, and the earth, tideless and inert, will no longer tolerate the race which has for a moment disturbed its solitude. Man will go down into the pit, and all his thoughts will perish.

The Foundations of Belief Part I, Chapter I, Section III (p. 33)

Byron, George Gordon

I had a dream, which was not all a dream The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars Did wander darkling in the eternal space, Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air. . .

The Complete Poetical Works of Byron Darkness

Davies, Paul

Many billions of years will elapse before the smallest, youngest stars complete their nuclear burning and shrink into white dwarfs. But with slow, agonizing finality perpetual night will surely fall.

The Last Three Minutes Chapter 5 (p. 50)

A universe that came from nothing in the big bang will disappear into nothing at the big crunch. Its glorious few zillion years of existence not even a memory.

The Last Three Minutes Chapter 9 (p. 123)

de Goncourt, Jules

At some particular state in scientific development will the good Lord, with a flowing white beard, arrive on earth with his chain of keys and say to humanity, just like they do at the Art Gallery at 5:00..."Gentlemen it's closing time."

In Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (p. 146)

Dyson, Freeman J.

Since the universe is on a one-way slide toward a state of final death in which energy is maximally degraded, how does it manage, like King Charles, to take such an unconsciously long time a-dying.

Quoted by John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler in The Anthropic Cosmological Principle Chapter 6 (p. 385)

Eddington, Sir Arthur Stanley

...the universe will finally become a ball of radiation, becoming more and more rarified and passing into longer and longer wave-lengths.

The longest waves of radiation are Hertzian waves of the kind used in broadcasting. About every 1500 million years this ball of radio waves will double in diameter; and it will go on expanding in geometrical progression for ever. Perhaps then I may describe the end of the physical world as—one stupendous broadcast.

New Pathways in Science Chapter III (p. 71)

This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.

Complete Poems and Plays of T.S. Eliot The Hollow Men v

Frost, Robert

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

Complete Poems ofRobert Frost Fire and Ice

Harrison, Edward

The stars begin to fade like guttering candles and are snuffed out one by one. Out of the depths of space the great celestial cities, the galaxies, cluttered with the memorabilia of ages, are gradually dying. Tens of billions of years pass in the growing darkness. Occasional flickers of light pierce the fall of cosmic night, and spurts of activity delay the sentence of a universe condemned to become a galactic graveyard.

Cosmology: The Science of the Universe Chapter 18 (p. 360)

Huxley, Julian

And all about the cosmic sky, The black that lies beyond our blue, Dead stars innumerable lie, And stars of red and angry hue

Not dead but doomed to die.

Cosmic Death Source unknown

James, William

Though the ultimate state of the universe may be its vital and psychical extinction, there is nothing in physics to interfere with the hypothesis that the penultimate state might be the millennium—in other words a state in which a minimum of difference of energy-level might have its exchanges so skillfully canalises that a maximum of happy and virtuous consciousness would be the only result. In short, the last expiring pulsation of the universe's life might be, 'I am so happy and perfect that I can stand it no longer.'

The Atlantic Monthly Letter to Henry Adams dated June 17,1910 (p. 316)

September 1920

Jeffers, Robinson

Time will come no doubt,

When the sun shall die, the planets will freeze, and the air on them; frozen gases, white flakes of air Will be the dust: which no wind ever will stir: this very dust in dim starlight glistening

Is dead wind, the white corpse of wind. Also, the galaxy will die; the glitter of the Milky Way, our universe, all the stars that have names are dead. Vast is the night. How you have grown, dear night, walking your empty halls, how tall!

The Double Axe Part II of The Double Axe The Inhumanist Stanza 11 (p. 58)

Nicholson, Norman

And if the universe

Reversed and showed

The colour of its money;

If now observable light

Flowed inward, and the skies snowed

A blizzard of galaxies,

The lens of night would burn

Brighter than the focused sun,

And man turn blinded

With white-hot darkness in his eyes.

In Neil Curry (ed.) Norman Nicholson Collected Works The Expanding Universe

Russell, Bertrand

...all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man's achievements must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built.

Why I am not a Christian A Free Man's Worship (p. 107)

...a steady twilight brooded over the Earth...All traces of the moon had vanished. The circling of the stars, growing slower and slower, had given place to creeping points of light...the sun, red and very large, [had] halted motionless upon the horizon, a vast dome glowing with a dull heat. ..The rocks about me were of a harsh reddish colour, and all the traces of life that I could see at first was the intensely green vegatation...the same rich green that one sees on forest moss or on the lichen in caves: plants which like these grow in a perpetual twilight...I cannot convey the sense of abominable desolation that hung over the world.

The Time Machine

Yeats, William Butler

When shall the stars be blown about the sky, Like the sparks blown out of a smithy, and die?

Collected Poems The Secret Rose


Cardenal, Ernesto Before the big explosion there wasn't even empty space, for space and time, and matter and energy, emerged from the explosion, neither was there any "outside" into which the universe could explode for the universe embraced it all, even the whole of empty space.

Cosmic Canticle Cantiga 1 Big Bang (p. 12)

The nothingness "before" the creation of the universe is the most complete void that we can imagine—no space, time, or matter existed. It is a world without place, without duration or eternity, without number—it is what mathematicians call "the empty set." Yet this unthinkable void converts itself into a plenum of existence—a necessary consequence of physical laws. Where are these laws written into that void? What "tells" the void that it is pregnant with a possible universe? It would seem that even the void is subject to law, a logic that exists prior to time and space.

Perfect Symmetry Part 3

Saint Augustine

See, I answer him that asketh, "What did God before He made heaven and earth?" I answer not as one is said to have done merrily (eluding the pressure of the question): "He was preparing hell (saith he) for pryers into mysteries."

The Confessions Book XI, XII, 14

Tzu, Lao

Something mysteriously formed, Born before heaven and earth. In the silence and the void,

Standing alone and unchanging, Ever present and in motion.

In Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English Tao Te Ching Twenty-five

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